Guys, we did it. The Witcher is now in the bag.
I think my initial thoughts on this game remain pretty on point - The Witcher contains a great story that is worth experiencing, filled with great characters and fantastic storytelling, but also with the caveat that the gameplay is mostly outdated. The ideas behind the combat are strong - I love the idea of learning about the creatures you will be facing, preparing your weapons and potions beforehand, then tackling them in a good fight - but the rhythm system was an attempt that didn’t quite work out. Hopefully the sequels build on these ideas in more interesting ways.
I do think the 4th chapter is ultimately a detriment to the game. The way it weaves in main plot information and builds on particular character arcs makes sense, but it would have been better to keep the experience tighter and weave that stuff through the time spent in Vizima. That being said, the story around the townsfolk of Murky Waters, the Vodyanoi and the Lady of the Lake were nonetheless compelling, if a little drawn out thanks to the tedious traversal of the expansive open areas.
The ending to The Witcher landed strong. The implicit gesturing to who the mastermind behind the entire games events is utterly brilliant, and I am impressed that CD Projekt let that underlying truth be only alluded to vs explicitly shoving it in your face. The implications of the events of this game have me super excited to jump into the sequel some time next year.
To wrap around to the question I so desperately sought an answer to in the beginning - would I recommend this game before playing The Witcher 3? Honestly, following the games own themes, the answer is not black and white. I’m never going to play this game again, of that I am certain; yet I’m so happy to have experienced this story. Maybe I’ll know better when I complete the series.
Games Left to Play: 113
Currently Playing: What Remains of Edith Finch